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New Petrochemical Plant Authorized on Dow Complex in Freeport

News Article Sponsored by FlexChem

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A company partially owned by Dow Chemical confirmed Tuesday that it will build a petrochemical plant in Freeport at Dow’s Oyster Creek site as intended.

The facility, slated for completion in 2019, would produce monoethylene glycol that is used to make polyester, resins, fibers and liquids like antifreeze. The project will require 1,400 construction jobs and 50 permanent workers.

The project is led by the MEGlobal company that’s owned by the Greater Equate joint venture, in which Dow owns a 42.5 percent stake, although Dow intends to eventually lessen its ownership percentage. The other partners are Kuwait and the Kuwait-based Boubyan Petrochemical Co.

“The Oyster Creek site provides MEGlobal with greater flexibility to satisfy our customers’ needs for consistent and reliable delivery of ethylene glycol products, especially in the growing U.S. and Asian markets,” said MEGlobal President Ramesh Ramachandran in the announcement.

Dow and MEGlobal are not releasing specific project costs, except to say that it’s more than $1 billion.

The MEG plant will tie into Dow’s new ethylene cracker facility in Freeport that’s scheduled to come online next year. Ethylene is the primary chemical building block for many plastics and products.

While speaking in Houston less than a month ago, Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris specifically touted Dow’s ongoing $6 billion investment along the Gulf Coast, mostly in Freeport and Lake Jackson.

Dow is currently merging with DuPont, but the combined entity will eventually splinter into three separate companies, including one still named Dow. The sprawling Freeport campus will stay with the Dow brand after DowDuPont is broken up.

In December, Dow started commercial operations at its new propylene production facility in Freeport. The propane dehydrogenation unit makes propylene — a core building block of many plastics.

In January, Liveris commemorated the opening of Dow’s Texas Innovation Center, a five-building technology development facility in Lake Jackson that can accommodate more than 2,000 workers. Dow employs about 6,200 people in the Houston area, including 4,200 at the Freeport complex.

But Dow and DuPont are both currently cutting jobs in advance of the merger.

After announcing about 1,700 planned job cuts last spring, Liveris in early February said the number will grow to 2,200 positions. Dow has eliminated 1,200 jobs thus far, so another 1,000 cuts are forthcoming. Dow employed nearly 50,000 people globally last year. Dow would not say whether Texas is impacted.


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